Kyiv Hit by Drone Attack Wave

Russia launched the most important drone assault it has ever directed on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, earlier than daybreak on Saturday, sending wave after wave of drones full of explosives towards a metropolis that’s dwelling to greater than three million folks.

The Ukrainian Air Force mentioned that the assault featured “a record number” of one-way assault drones. At least 5 folks have been injured in Saturday’s assault, metropolis officers mentioned, and dozens of properties broken or destroyed.

Searchlights swept the predawn skies as air protection groups hunted for the drones approaching town from all instructions. The first alarms sounded shortly after 2:30 a.m., and the rattle of antiaircraft weapons and highly effective explosions echoed for hours, the noisiest evening that Kyiv has endured in months. The distant glow of fires was seen from town middle.

President Volodymyr Zelensky referred to as the bombardment “deliberate terror.” “The Russian leadership is proud of its ability to kill,” he mentioned, noting that the assault got here on the day that Ukrainians pay tribute to the tens of millions killed within the Holodomor, a famine orchestrated by Stalin.

At 7:15 a.m., the Ukrainian Air Force warned that one other wave of drones was approaching. With the solar up, they may very well be seen flying by means of the sky and exploding in a burst of orange.

An “all clear” sign was issued shortly earlier than 9 a.m., greater than six hours after the primary alarm sounded.

The Ukrainian Air Force mentioned it had shot down or disabled 71 out of an estimated 75 drones, most of which have been concentrating on the capital. The conflict’s beforehand largest drone assault directed on the capital, which befell in May, concerned about half as many drones.

A single missile was shot down over the Dnipro area, the air power mentioned.

Russia has been rising the variety of drone strikes throughout Ukraine in current weeks because it probes Ukrainian air protection programs, and Ukrainian officers have warned that Moscow was testing quite a lot of new strategies to evade detection.

“The enemy uses electronic warfare, jammers, to mislead air defense and make us respond to targets that do not actually exist,” Yuri Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, mentioned this month.

Russia can also be utilizing strategies comparable to unarmed drones that don’t pose a severe menace however nonetheless have to be shot down.

The mostly used drones in long-range assaults on targets throughout Ukraine are the Iranian-made Shaheds, that are designed to dive into their targets and detonate on contact. They can journey a distance of greater than 600 miles and carry payloads of 80 to 120 kilos, in accordance with Ukrainian intelligence.

Russia has been working to switch and improve the Iranian-made drones, in accordance with Western and Ukrainian officers. Moscow can also be rising its home manufacturing of drones primarily based on the Iranian design, aiming to have the ability to produce 6,000 by the summer season of 2025, in accordance with Western officers.

Ukrainian officers have been bracing for a rise in Russian assaults on infrastructure this winter as they count on the Kremlin to once more attempt to plunge the nation into chilly and darkness, deepening the humanitarian disaster.

The assault Saturday appeared to primarily function drones, Ukrainian officers mentioned. But they cautioned that Russia has beforehand used a mix of drones and missiles in complicated assaults geared toward evading and overwhelming air defenses.

Ukrainian intelligence officers say that the Kremlin has most likely stockpiled greater than 900 long-range ballistic and cruise missiles over the previous few months.

“The Ukrainian sky shield is already more powerful compared to last year,” Mr. Zelensky mentioned. But it “does not yet fully protect the entire territory.”

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